Research Ecologist (Landscape Ecologist)

Edgewater, Maryland
Jul 27, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Analyst, Research
Full Time


This position is located in Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. The employee provides ecological research, in order to extend unexplored aspects and theories, and to discover new understanding primarily focused on landscape-scale ecological science.

Please visit their website at:

More than one selection may be made from this announcement.

Learn more about this agency


As a Research Ecologist (Landscape Ecologist) the incumbent will perform the following duties:
  • Supervises staff in the agency or organization's Landscape Ecology research program.
  • Identifying information gaps and research needs, applying scientific methods, planning the approach for study, analyzing the data, interpreting results, and documenting and reporting findings.
  • Conceives and develops innovative and competitive research proposals, consistent with the agency or organization's and incumbent's research objectives, that are awarded to support the Agency by an independent competitive review process for grants and contracts from internal and especially extramural sponsors.
  • Publishes and disseminates research findings in landscape ecology that describe new or modified theories and principles, explain phenomena or ecological processes, and inform to improve the understanding of research techniques and ecological processes.
  • Provides professional service to the field of research by: providing peer reviews of journal manuscripts and grant proposals; serving on external advisory and review committees; providing leadership for professional associations; and mentoring students and others.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Occasional travel for meetings

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Valid Drivers License

Involves a combination of both prolonged active outdoor activity and prolonged sedentary office and/or laboratory activities. Depending on the nature of the research activity, may be necessary to: drive field vehicles; Occasionally hike over rough terrain; tolerate extremes of weather including heat, cold, wet, ice and snow; tolerate biting insects and toxic plants; Stand at laboratory counters to operate analytical instruments for prolonged periods; and sit for prolonged periods for operating computers in an office setting and meetings. For work in marine or aquatic systems, the incumbent may need ability to swim if required by safety regulations. Long periods of travel may be needed.

Work is performed partly in the outdoors (Terrestrial, estuarine, marine ecosystems), and partly indoors in normal laboratory and office environment. When in the field, requires use of safety clothing to protect against weather elements and to protect against exposure to poisonous plants, biting insects and ticks (e.g., Wear appropriate clothing and use insect repellant) and other potential dangers. Precautions must be used to ensure safe procedures to operate vehicles and various instruments and apparatus, and to lift heavy loads. If scuba diving is needed, the incumbent must be able to meet certification requirement's for the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Program. Valid US Driver's license required. Regional, national, and international travel may be required to attend meetings and conferences, to give presentations, and/or to conduct research.

Qualification requirements, including one year time-in-grade at the next lower grade level for promotion candidates, must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at


Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.


Experience: You qualify for this position if you have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system. For this position Specialized experience is defined as research investigating landscape and/or seascape ecology such as environmental science, geography, biology, or other related subject; obtaining research funding from competitive internal and/or extramural funding sources; publishing data-rich papers with regional and/or national application and significance; presenting research results to scientific and other audiences; and leading or managing coordination of research projects and teams.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

Important Note:

Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.


Additional information

Flexible Spending Accounts -
Health Insurance -
Leave -
Life Insurance -
Long Term Care Insurance -
Retirement Program -

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:
  • Leadership and Project Management, including ability to conduct and complete broad assignments for creation, maintenance, and operational management of a research program in landscape ecology with initiative, critical judgement, and independence.
  • Research in landscape and/or seascape ecology, including comprehensive knowledge of: modern data management of large data sets; Geographic Information Systems software; statistical and graphical software and similar capabilities and protocols.
  • Entrepreneurship, including ability to conceive and create innovative research proposals that are successful in receiving funding from competitive internal and/or extramural sponsors.
  • Communication, including ability to disseminate research findings through publication in the peer-reviewed literature and to present results and findings at professional meetings and conferences.
  • Professional Peer Review, including ability to participate in professional meetings and make regular contact with collaborators outside the agency or organization, including grant officers and representatives of funding agencies, natural resource managers, and policy makers as appropriate to provide expert scientific information.

BASIS OF RATING: Once the announcement closes, your application will be automatically evaluated and rated by the system and a Human Resources Specialist. To determine if you are qualified for this job, a review of your application and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the occupational questionnaire. The numeric rating you receive is based on your responses to the questionnaire. The score is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of this position. If, after the Human Resources Specialist reviews your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that the score you have received is not a true reflection of your qualifications and/or experience, your score can and will be adjusted to more accurately reflect the information you provided that support your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Your resume should provide detailed information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Noncritical-Sensitive (NCS)/Moderate Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Resume - Your resume can be uploaded and attached to your application or created using the USA Jobs on-line resume builder. If you want to receive full credit for relevant experience your resume MUST contain the job title (including the occupational series and grade if it is Federal), duties, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours worked per week, and salary.

    USAJOBS has guidance on how to ensure that you submit a complete resume: If you have not written a Federal resume before, you may watch this Resume Writing Tutorial video on the USAJOBS YouTube channel , or read through a helpful Resume Writing FAQ article on the USAJOBS Help Site to learn what details you should, and should not, include in your resume. If any of the above information is not included in your resume we may not be able to fully credit you for your experience.
  • A copy of your most recent SF-50 which shows your position title, series, grade, step, salary, position occupied, and tenure to verify Time-in-Grade/competitive status. If you have previously held a higher grade and are applying based on that grade you must provide a copy of the SF-50 showing you held the higher grade and/or have promotion potential to the grade being advertised. Do NOT submit award SF-50s.
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
  • A recent performance evaluation
  • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy) if you are requesting a special appointment authority, such as VRA or VEOA
  • Proof of severe disability if you are requesting special placement consideration.
  • Proof of eligibility for a military spouse appointment, such as a permanent change station military order.
  • Proof of eligibility for any other special appointing authority not specifically mentioned here.

Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA): If you are applying for a VEOA appointment, you must be a veteran and must be honorably separated and either a preference eligible or have substantially completed 3 or more years of active service. ("Active Service" under this law means active duty in a uniformed service and includes full-time training duty, annual training duty, full-time National Guard duty, and attendance, while in the active service, at a school designated as a service school by law or by the Secretary concerned.) A veteran who is released under honorable conditions shortly before completing a 3-year tour is also eligible.

Noncompetitive Appointment Authorities: The following links contain information on the eligibility requirements to be considered under a noncompetitive appointing authority:
  • Primary Appointing Authorities for Career and Career-Conditional Appointments
  • Hiring Authorities for Veterans
  • People with Disabilities

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

Similar jobs